Gunze Sangyo 1/350 Lusitania

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I got this kit from Australia on ebay. They are hard to find. It was brand new, all the parts still in the bags. The first thing I’m doing is removing the molded on plastic railings so I can replace them with brass. Some are easy to clip off, others are impossible to get to. For the tightly placed ones I’m using a Foredom Tool to make enough room for me to get small files in there to fine tune the openings. The tool works great for stuff like this as it can operate from 0 RPM and reverse which helps to stop any climbing. 1.jpg2.jpg3.jpg4 Railing Removal.jpg5 Foredom Tool.jpg
 
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Very jealous. I'd love to build this and mount it with a model of the U-20. I will be watching this one.
I looked for this model all over the place, it's really hard to find. They usually end up in a bidding war on Ebay for a crazy price. I got lucky by getting it on Ebay Australia. I think the market there is smaller than in the US plus the shipping costs scare the US buyers away. Even if you're willing to pay big money for it they just aren't out there very often.

I removed one bow railing on the hull. I had to do it by hand. With the smaller pieces I did yesterday I was able to place them down flat on the bench and use my Foredom tool to remove some material and then finish it off by hand. With the whole half hull the railing sits off the bench in midair and doesn't have enough rigidity and support to use the tool. It's too risky as the whole piece jumps around too much even at low RPM. One slip would gouge a chunk out of the plastic. So I'll just have to take my time and remove the rest by sanding and filing.
7 Bow Railing Removal.jpg
 
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All the plastic railings are removed. It was a lot of filing and sanding. So far I'm really impressed by the quality of this model kit. Everything seems straight and clean. The Minicraft Titanic I recently built was a total horror show quality wise compared to this one. I think I'm going to enjoy building this one a lot more as I hopefully won't be wrestling with all the warped junk like I did on the Titanic.

I cut and routed a piece of Mahogany for the display base. I just have to give it a few more coats of Polyurethane.

I also bought a color laser printer and some decal paper and printed up some decals. I was pleasantly surprised how nice they came out. Now I just have to figure out how to apply them correctly. I made a lot of spares for this Lusitania so now I can afford to mess up a few. I guess I'll have to shoot the hull in gloss to apply them and then put a coat or two of flat clear over it. I learned from my mistake on the last one not to paint it dull until the decals are on. I am also going to mess around with panel line accent and see what that's all about.

I got a hold of some stencils, tracing paper, hole punches, and a 24x12 piece of uncut Scaledeck.. I am going to try and make wood decks for it. I am not really holding out much hope for that though. There are a lot of tiny details molded onto the decks that I don't think I can cleanly cut out. It's worth a try though.
8 Plastic Railings Removed.jpg9 Display Base.jpg
 
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I assembled the two piece hull, propeller shaft housings, rudder, and bilge keels. There are a few male and female connection points on the hull which I put modeling glue into the holes and let them get tacky. This left gaps along the length of the hulls division which I tacked with CA glue until the two halves were flush. I then ran a bead of modeling glue along the hulls interior length. After it was all dry I painted on a large bead of epoxy so after all that I think the two halves should be solid.

There was a hole not molded for one of the bilge keels. I found this out when I tried to affix them. It was quite a tricky hole to drill as it has to be drilled on a rounded surface but yet be parallel with the keel. I couldn’t use a starter punch on this delicate plastic so I used the smallest bit I have on my pin vise to just do basically the same thing. As I worked up in bit size I gradually sent the bits in parallel. It came out fine.

I tried and failed at my attempt to use putty. I initially used Tamiya putty on the seem on the bottom of the hull. I could tell immediately it was not what I would be using on the other area I needed to do, the propeller shaft housings. The Tamiya cures fast, doesn’t spread easily for me, and dries like a rock.

I see models with the shaft housings blended in nicely. I tried this and wound up just making a giant mess. I was able to fill in the small gaps between the housings and the hull but there would be no feathering the housings in. It’s like bondo on a car, some people are good at feathering and some are not. I’m not. Aside from making a mess, the hull panel lines run right up to these housings and when I began sanding away the putty I could see that I was going to take away the hull accents with it. I chickened out and removed the water based putty with some wet Q Tips. It’s a confined space that requires more talent than I have. I’ll have to be happy with just having filled the spaces I did. I’m capable of filling seems but I can’t feather and blend in large objects.

I also finished sanding, steel wooling, and coating the display base. That kept me busy for a good part of the day.10 Epoxy.jpg11 Hull.jpg12 Missing hole.jpg
 
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I ordered more supplies to try and give making wood decks for this Lusitania a go. I think I can get it done but time will tell. I’ll see how the first one turns out and then decide if I should continue. It will be very time consuming. I bought a load of stencils, chipboard, graph paper etc. I also bought a BUNCH of X-acto blades!!

I figure on making drawings I can scan into my computer in the actual scale of what I’m trying to cut. I can make a base drawing that I can always go back to. I’m going to try and update the drawing as I progress but always keep the latest mistake free drawing to fall back on. Once I get it the way I want it I’ll print out the drawing and then transfer it to and cut it into thin chipboard. Hopefully I can use that template for fine tuning sort of like dry fitting the actual pre made decks. If I can get the template to fit nicely I’ll cut the wood decking from a tracing of the template. A lot of the cuts will be tiny so I don’t know if any of this will pan out but that’s my plan. The plan can change if it doesn’t seem to be working. I’ll know if it’s going to be something I’ll keep at if I can get the forecastle to look acceptable. If not. Then it’s painted decks lol!

I will be idling for awhile as I have to wait for the supplies to arrive. Then I’m sure I’ll be spending a lot of time drawing and other stuff that isn’t actually model building. That just goes to show how much I like the look of the wood decks to even attempt this kind of nutty project. I wish somebody made wood decks for this model but I don’t see that happening on an out of production kit. Hopefully it won’t be a huge waste of time.
 
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Well I'm about 80% done with one template for one deck lol. If this works out it's going to take a LONG time to do. Cutting the actual decks from the template should be interesting since the point of the pencil is big enough to throw everything off. I have to remember to compensate for that.16 Template.jpg17 Template.jpg18 Template.jpg19 Template.jpg
 
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The camera doesn’t lie. After looking at the photos of my template I could see I over cut one spot. I added some material to that area. I will have to clean up all the edges when I actually cut the wood decks. I figure since this deck is a mirror image I will draw the lines on the underside of the wood so I won’t have pencil marks to deal with.20 Template - Copy.jpg
 
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Well the template really isn't accurate enough to use for cutting. I am now just cutting the deck by measuring the location of each individual cut from points on the plastic itself. It takes forever. This is as far as I got after a few hours. I'm trying not to make a mistake because then I have to start all over. Just painting the decks is looking better and better all the time. I'm not giving up yet though.21 Template.jpg22 Template.jpg
 
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I have one cut. I just need to drill out the holes from the bottom once it's glued down. It's very difficult to do. There are some areas that are over cut, not rounded and such but I don't have a laser to cut them with! I think if I put some similar color to what the wood is underneath in the areas that are rough it may look OK from normal viewing distance. I have one little slice that I may add when gluing it down. I haven't made a final decision on if I'll proceed with the rest of them yet. It wears me out concentrating on this tiny stuff and one wrong move with the knife and it's trash. 23 Deck Cut.jpg24 Deck Cut.jpg
 
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I have cutting the decks on hold for now as there is a rumor that Scaledecks may be producing a set. That would be a wish come true for me because I can't stand cutting them and they don't come out that good. I'll try to do some other stuff for a while and see if they actually make the decks available. I started to put some color on the hull.28 Color.jpg
 
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Well I got my first experience with decals today. I think they came out pretty good for a first try. The only thing is I may have messed up the order of doing things again. I still need to paint the white stripe between the red and black of the hull. Of course this will require masking over the decals. I shot the whole hull with a couple of pretty heavy coats of acrylic flat clear, especially where the decals are.

If anyone reads these30 Decals.jpg31 Decals.jpg posts and has any input on whether you think these decals will survive masking I would appreciate your input. I could probably get around the name on the side of the bow by putting paper over it and then the masking tape. The draft marks are another story, I have to mask right on them. I’m hoping having the clear over them will be ok since my paint doesn’t pull up when I mask things….at least that was my thinking.
 
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I'm trying to do other things that having wood decks doesn't interfere with as I wait to see if Scaledecks produces a Lusitania deck. The last thing I want to do is cut all those decks and then have beautiful pre made ones come out a month after I glue mine down

So I'm going to mess with some painting. I know it takes longer, costs more money in paint and tape, but I just prefer the look of a sprayed on finish as opposed to a brush. Personal preference.36 Airbrushing.jpg
 
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I guess I'm wasting a lot of time masking since I will be putting wood decks on. My thought is it can't hurt because even the pre cut wood decks always have a little space around the objects they are cut to fit. The plastic is pretty close in color to the wood decks so I figure the plastic color will hide any space better than black.37 Taping.jpg38 Taping.jpg
 
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